Only 6 short weeks and 1 day ago, I was enjoying a good night's rest when I awoke at 6:00 AM to realize that I was in fact, not going to be pregnant forever and, there was a good chance I was going to be meeting my baby that same day. I headed downstairs to find a distraction from the pain. Organizing my pantry seemed like the best idea.
Around 7:30, my husband came downstairs. He looked at me and then the newly organized pantry and then back at me and suspiciously asked, "What are you doing?"
"Organizing the pantry." (Obviously. What else is there to do early on a Saturday morning when one is in labor?)
"Because I needed a distraction."
Then I started breathing through a contraction and simultaneously, a look of alarm went off in his eyes.
"So I should probably cancel my tee time?"
"Well, if this labor is faster than the first, you might still make it."
Within a couple of minutes, I was on the phone with the midwife and he was quickly cleaning the bathroom (the final pre-baby task).
There came a point when the contractions hit an intensity that cured my amnesia from the pain of my first delivery. I was thinking to myself, Oh my... I remember now. How am I going to get through this? As the memories of the pain that was on the horizon came flooding back, I paused and prayed, Oh God, please get me through what is coming. Thank you that you will.
Labor is the most physically painful thing I have ever experienced. I recall this one contraction that hit. I just started screaming and felt like smashing things Hulk style. It just felt right and there weren't many other options for expressing myself at that moment.
Then one of the midwives said, "Try not to scream" to which I chose to follow the, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" rule. She continued. "If you scream, you won't have a voice to talk to your baby tomorrow and you're actually just wasting your energy. Instead try to bear down and use that energy to push."
I figured since it was only my second time, and she had been down this road a few more times than that, my best bet was to follow her advice. I also didn't want the whole lovely experience to last any longer than necessary. The next thing I remember is her saying, "Here's your baby." The pain that I thought would never end ended and I looked down to see my reward.
Beth Moore defined dread as assuming we won't have the grace we need for the moment. That morning I had a few moments of dread when the intensity of my pain increased before it quickly dawned on me that the increasing pain meant I was going to meet my baby soon. It wasn't going to last forever and there would be the most worthwhile "push present" ever.
The words of the midwife lingered in my mind for a while after. "You're just wasting your energy... instead... use it..." The reality dawned on me that screaming or choosing to "waste" my energy wouldn't shorten the painful process I was experiencing. Unfortunately, it would in fact lengthen it. It would be like floundering in the water when you know how to swim and have been told the finish line is close by. She was giving me instructions because she knew there was a better way.
There are alternatives to dread and floundering I want you to consider and remember.
Instead of dread, stretch forward.
In faith, thank Him ahead of time for what He has promised to provide. After my dad passed away, I remember dreading the holidays when the family would gather. I feared the giant void that would be there. However, I also remember saying, God, I trust that you will see us through. And He did. As I'm often still tempted to dread certain things or situations, I know God to be faithful and his different gifts of grace to be exactly what each challenge requires.
What are you tempted to dread today? It may not be pain, but maybe it's a finances, a relationship or lack of, or a difficult situation where you have already assumed you won't have what you need. Stretch forward in faith instead. This is Jesus we're talking about. He overcame DEATH. He can handle our present challenges!
Instead of floundering, push through.
Take the advice of the One who knows a better way. We weren't made to or left to just flounder in the challenges of this life. God knows what we need.
The existence of whatever challenges you face is not contingent on you choosing to trust and obey.
The ability to get through in one piece is.
There is actually one thing I remember the midwife saying between the "stop screaming" and "here's your baby." She said, you can either wait for the next contraction or give another big push. The choice seemed obvious. I just remember yelling, "No, now!" Why anyone would want to wait for another minute of never-ending agonizing pain was beyond me.
I'm sure you would feel the same. Don't dread. Don't flounder. There's a better way. Grab onto the promises of God, stretch forward, and push through.
When you come face to face with your faith becoming sight, there is great joy!
My handsome little man. 7 days later the amnesia has almost settled back in